Rhodes Cajunfest 2009

truk and Bob Cook Shrimp

Yesterday was the 5th annual Rhodes CajunFest, and it was probably our most successful one to date, if the speed in which the food was devoured was any indication. CajunFest was started by Bud Richey and Joby Dion, a couple of Rhodes alumni and employees that call Louisiana home and wanted to share the joy of cooking and eating Cajun food with the Rhodes community. The event is held every year on the day that Rhodes College plays football against our main rival, Sewanee.

Kath Stirs the Gumbo

The day is a long one, getting started about 6:30, setting up propane burners, fetching water, chopping a lot of veggies and meat, and cooking, cooking, cooking. This year, Kath came to help out, and she even got to stir the gumbo.

Bud and Cookers

Bud has been our organizer for the past couple of years, doing a magnificent job at what must feel like herding cats at times. Bud always makes sure we have authentic ingredients, even to the point of driving to the Gulf and picking up fresh seafood and Andouille sausage, straight from the source.

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Rhodes Professor Jack Streete really got into the spirit and probably had beads on before anyone else.

Russ and Lane Chop Chickent and Look for Rocks in the Beans

Sometimes, I forget what a beautiful place Rhodes can be. This is the scene in front of the library at 7 AM, with the campus deserted and the sun just peeking up over the treeline.

Rhodes at 7 AM on a Saturday

I like this photo of Wisch and his daughter, Toshie.

Wisch and Toshy

Oh, and Rhodes did win the football game, in overtime, 19-16.

Click here to view all of our photos of the event.

Dave Got a KLR 650

The big news this past week is that Dave bought a motorcycle, a 2006 Kawasaki KLR 650, the same model and year that I have. This is a very good thing, as we can bring one set of backup parts for long rides, and we will both be more likely to know how to fix problems with each other’s bikes. Here they are, with Wisch’s Suzuki DR 650, before we got them muddy on Sunday:

truk and Dave with the KLR 650s

We rode for about 3 hours on Sunday in Crittenden County, just over the Mississippi River from Memphis. I wanted to show the guys something interesting I found a month or so ago, which is the exit point for the original automobile traffic bridge over the Mississippi for the area. It is located right next to I-55, on a old railroad bridge where they bolted steel girders onto the bridge and covered them with huge wooden planks almost the size of railroad crossties. You can’t see any wood in this shot (it has all rotted away), but you can see what remains of the bridge as it arches up and prepares to go east over the river and toward Memphis.

Original Memphis Road Bridge

It was a beautiful day to go riding, needless to say. We ran into a really nice guy from Midtown out riding on the dirt roads with his girlfriend, and he took us to a nice spot opposite Memphis, evenly between the I-40 and I-55 bridges, almost even with the end of Mud Island. We all enjoyed the view of downtown, and while the river was rising, it almost looks so calm as to be swimable.

Here’s a shot of Wisch and the scene across the river, back toward Memphis.

Wisch and the Memphis Skyline

Here’s Dave before I accidentally sprayed him with mud from my back tire as we were leaving that place. (Sorry about that Dave…)

Dave and the Memphis Skyline

We got deeper into the mud that afternoon, going all of the way from I-55 to a road north of Marion entirely on dirt (well, dirt, mud, deep puddles, and lots of fallen, wet leaves). The ride was challenging but rewarding, and we all got adequately lost and dirty. We ended up taking a rest in Marion before heading back over the I-40 bridge back to Memphis.

Hanging Out in Marion

If only Big John’s had been open.

If you are looking to read about an incredible adventure motorcycle trip, please read their ADV Rider thread. Yes, I know it is over a hundred pages long, but the hours spent will be worth it. If you only have 10 minutes, just read a few pages, perhaps of their ride from this summer. In summary, some truly crazy (and very brave) guys traveled from Poland to Magadan in Eastern Siberia in 2007, and this year, they explored a big chunk of Eastern Siberia, usually without even the benefit of roads. They didn’t let the isolation of the area, or the bears, or the lack of fuel or spare parts, stand in their way. This looks to be an amazing adventure, and they are still publishing pics from the summer ride daily.